Lou Brancaccio Forgets the Columbians Own History

by lewwaters

I am always flattered to receive the notice of the Columbians esteemed editor Lou Brancaccio and feel fortunate to not be on the receiving end of a vitriolic tirade like was unleashed months ago against fellow blogger, Kelly Hinton. But Lou’s effort to marginalize my view on the abrupt resignation of Democrat 49th Legislative District representative Jim Jacks under mysterious circumstances in his column today falls flat and hurts him more than me.

One’s history will never be forgotten when it comes to the public

From the outset, especially the columns title, Lou seems to forget that it is the Columbians own history in the coverage of past incidents that I used to base my claim of a “double standard.” Lou claims in his column, “Conservative blogger Lew Waters was determined to show some sort of double standard by The Columbian when it comes to politicians doing stupid stuff,” and “So Waters drags up a name from the past: former Republican state Rep. Richard Curtis.”

As I showed in previous posts here, here and here, the Columbian has been derelict in their duty to the community, especially those of us living within the 49th legislative district who now have inadequate representation in Olympia as to why we no longer have the representation the community elected to have.

From the moment the announcement of him abruptly quitting became public, completely forgotten was the five principles of journalism, who, what, when, where and why. A question posed directly to Lou on that being just a tired old movie line remains unanswered.

Contrary to what Lou claims, I did not “drag up a name from the past” nor did I feel the need to once again disclose the sordid details of that past incident as he does in his column today. I compared the 14 articles published by the Columbian within a 5 day period to the single article on Jacks quitting.

Although the Columbian did not initially mention Curtis, his name was actually drug in by OPD News, NPR, KPLU News and a handful of other somewhat left of center sources, all of whom felt the need to include at the bottom of their articles, “. In 2007, Republican Richard Curtis left office amid a sex scandal,” but omitting the salacious details Lou Brancaccio felt needed to include in his column today.

But, Lou could say to me on the All Politics is Local portion of their site, “I’m also a little surprised you opted to bring Curtis’s name up so that everyone can now revisit that unfortunate situation,” and “If you are looking for fair, we didn’t pull a couple of reporters off to investigate the Curtis story (something you drug up again, I’m sure to Curtis’ displeasure)” and “your dragging Curtis’ name in this is another matter entirely.”

No one else felt the need to drudge up the sordid details of the incident, even though acknowledging it had happened and received much coverage.

In a comment on his column today, Lou says, “I don’t think I said our reporting was over on the Jacks situation” and “We need some facts, whether they come from a paper trail or a trusted source.”

As I said before, I began receiving calls on these “rumors” and have been hearing them for months before now, as well as being copied an email “tip” to the Columbian in September 2010 on Jack’s inappropriate conduct. As a simple little blogger, I neither have the resources nor connections as do “real journalists” like Lou. Facts originate in chasing down “rumors” to see where they lead. In the case of an elected official, rumors often have more substance than against an irritable neighbor.

A “paper trail” is created by seeking records, files or what have you. In the case of Richard Curtis there was a Police Report filed by Curtis, in Spokane. The Columbian made the effort to request that report and blew his claims of no big deal wide open, as newspapers should.

It’s been a little over 2 weeks since Jacks abruptly quit and last I heard was, “Have you got a paper trail that we missed? If so, please let us know,” indicating to me that the Columbian wants citizens to ‘bring’ them something instead of them actively seeking it.

By outwardly appearance there is a cover-up on the why of Jacks abrupt resignation, considering many of those “rumors” floating around up in Olympia and the lack of curiosity displayed up and down the I-5 corridor by the media. It’s doubtful there are Police Reports lying around, but is possible that there have been verbal complaints leveled, if the rumors are actually fact.

While I understand the liability issue of the media, how often have we seen the media ‘push the envelope’ to uncover reasons behind what otherwise might look innocent or false allegations? We especially see such actions when the target is a Republican official over a Democrat official.

One need look no further than the onslaught of coverage of Alaska’s former governor Sarah Palin in the national media compared to their total lack of curiosity displayed towards Barack Obama for an example.

To the Columbians credit, they did not engage in the smearing of Mrs. Palin. But, as we have seen in articles against Peter Van Nortwick, Kelly Hinton, Alan Svehaug, David Madore, Ann Rivers and others, the paper wasn’t always that favorable towards them.

Comparing the smears against those Republicans to similar actions against Democrat candidates, even ones they did not endorse, seemed futile as I see no equivalence.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike or not respect Lou. I’ve never met him face to face as I have some others at the Columbian. But Lou does make a good point in reminding public officials that their history is never forgotten. He should also remember that neither is the newspapers history ever forgotten.

It’s all sitting right there in their archives.

9 Comments to “Lou Brancaccio Forgets the Columbians Own History”

  1. You mean to tell me Lew that liberal papers are more interested in Republican scandals than in Democrat ones? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!


  2. Don’t forget The Columbians’ hounding of Jim Dunn, Lew. They printed every “rumor” and all of the “speculation” they could come up with.

    I think it’s obvious to even a six year-old kid that Jacks must have done something pretty damaging to cause him to resign so abruptly. I can’t think of any “family problems” that would have caused such an abrupt departure and destruction of a political career. “Family problems” is just total baloney. Major illnesses are talked about all of the time and divorces aren’t uncommon.

    Jacks is probably sequestered in a treatment facility whilst political operatives work to keep the offended “quiet”. “We wouldn’t want to hurt the image of the party or lose the seat to the Republicans” would be the “instructions” given to the Democrat robot or robots.

    It’s amazing how low the Democrats will stoop to cover for their scumbags whilst the Conservative Republicans won’t cover for any scumbags on their side. We’ve seen that time and time again.


  3. That’s been my whole point all along, Jack.

    There are many examples besides Dunn. Brian Baird comes to mind.

    Funny part is, since they included Bethany Storro, notice how it is no longer just a “paper trail,” but now a “trusted source” is included?

    Funny thing is, Lou doesn’t seem to be getting much support in the comments. Plants may come in later, LOL.


  4. The Columbian uses a number of “plants”, Lew. They have for quite a while. I can’t make up my mind if they’re all Lou Brancaccio or John Laird though.

    Maybe a mix of both, but I think they’re mostly Lou.


  5. Jack & Lew,

    Can I impress upon you the well connected former state committeeman, current city of Vancouver land use attorney and recurring fill for pat mcdonnell and now eric holmes as stand-in assistant city manager when the manager has conflicts or commitments on during the regular week. His name is Brent Boger.

    There is another good name that Lou sat his dogs (reporters) into to make hay out of nothing? And guess what, the all powerful former city council and clark county commissioners lit into Lou like a panda pinata and got him to back off.

    Both Kelly and Lew have vast archives on these very subjects about how Lou used his position to go after one side of the aisle but hardly EVER goes after the democratic 30 year supermajority party. How many times have you ever heard him go after Royce? (a few times?) He went once after Betty Sue Morris with a nice sunday piece about two years ago about how Royce and Betty did not get along politically due to their differences of opinion on local matters.

    I remember that nice hit piece. Because there was so very little fact and so much congecture. There was some commentary from both of the parties but it was one of those fluff pieces that tends to fill the local subdued sunday paper that tends to be about one percent or less of news and ninety-nine percent fluff and home sections with coupons.

    But back to my original point, there are so many other examples since Lou started as an assistant editor at the columbian around 1996 under Tom Koenninger, it sickens me. There has to fifteen years he has been able to comment on our community and with his position, he take it anywhere he wants without any punitive consequences to his job if he is wrong or takes that position he so dearly has and takes aim at someone or some political group.

    If there was some form of honesty here, Lou or Scott (who really has the final say authority as majority owner and publisher though he may not always use it) over the past twenty or thirty years that they have had control the local news scene, would finally step up and admit what we know. There are too many consequential time points over this lifetime trilogy to make any other common sense answer that is displayed here.

    There are simply too many variable community voices from my twenty five or more years as a community member that I have heard the same or similar complaints about our local newspaper. Now some times I have not agreed with some of those assertions and characterizations. But in the back of my mind, it seems to me that they continue to crop up over and over again.

    So my final comment here is, why are they continuing to be felt and heard if they are not in some form truth to them?


  6. And my final comment on this thread and comment is when is Lou going to be held to the standard our community expects of politicians and other forms of higher authority?

    We continue to hold others to a higher standard but Lou continues to get special passes against this. When is it going to be time this crap ends?


  7. I think Lou is the only one who deems himself and The Columbian to be of a “higher standard”, Jeremy. I think anybody who has followed The Columbian for many years knows that it’s nothing more than just another “high school newspaper”.

    The Columbian could be a real asset to the community rather than just another good reason to have a computer if it wanted to, but it’s management is decidedly arrogant Liberal.

    Just as nobody wants to listen to Liberal radio stations, nobody wants to read a Liberal propaganda newspaper.


  8. If you saw my, Lou, Bob Koski and a few others Jack on Lou’s lattest Saturday scribbling, I think you hit almost the nail on the head.


  9. Hard to imagine, isn’t it GM? 🙂


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